Melissa Vigar

Executive Director

Melissa is a Registered Social Worker who has been actively working in the field of Acquired Brain Injury since 2001.  Throughout her career she has provided support to survivors and the individuals who support them both in the non-profit and private sector.  With collaboration and compassion being her focus, she has supervised teams and implemented trainings and programs in both community and residential settings.   She is passionate about improving the quality of life for anyone who has suffered an ABI as well as ensuring that the individuals who support them are equipped with resources, education and strategies for self care.
Outside of work, you can find Melissa in the kitchen cooking and baking with her two girls.  She uses the fuel from these treats to power her other passions of hot yoga and rock climbing.

Laura Bellon

Transitional Support Coordinator

Laura Bellon has been providing services for individuals with Acquired Brain Injury since 2002 in both the public sector and private sector. She has passionately helped individuals with multiple physical, cognitive, and psychological needs navigate the healthcare system and rehabilitation world.

She comes to BIST with a background in Sociology and Education, with certificates in crisis supports, errorless learning, and occupational health and safety. Her experience with individuals in the community and within residential programs in the Greater Toronto Area, has helped those living with the effects of an ABI work toward their goals to lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

You will most likely know Laura is around when you hear her contagious laugh and see her dancing to her favorite songs. She enjoys watching her son perform his theater plays and walking Ontario’s trails in the summer.

Ryan Natale

Men’s Social Drop-In Facilitator

Ryan Natale joined the BIST family in 2018. After completing his undergraduate degree at McMaster University and juggling various jobs, Ryan completed a graduate certificate in Brain Disorders Management where he was introduced to the ABI field.

Outside of work, you can find Ryan exploring the Niagara escarpment on his bike, rock climbing, or just enjoying a nature walk.

Julie Notto

Programs and Services Coordinator / Peer Support Coordinator

Julie has a post graduate certificate in adult mental health and over 10 years experience in the non-profit sector developing health and education programs for youth, adults and their families. Julie channels her passion for education and advocacy into developing programs that support individuals, and their families, dealing with physical and mental health issues to improve their quality of and zest for life.

Outside of the office you can find Julie cycling through the city, playing basketball and making short films with her two boys and walking their sweet labrador retriever Starr.

Meri Perra

Communications and Event Coordinator

Meri Perra has several years of experience connecting people to resources, through her former position at Find Help Information Services. She has a diploma in journalism, has worked as a contributor and assistant editor for an online parenting magazine and held a position as a news and sports editor for a digital media company.

Meri enjoys spending time biking during the warmer seasons and has started skiing in the winter when she puts her bike away. (Always wearing a helmet of course!). She is the mom of two amazing humans and one handful of a pup.

Isabelle Rivaletto

Violence Impact Coordinator

Isabelle has been working in the field of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) since 2014. Isabelle has worked in the community and supported individuals with medical appointments, community referrals and one to one support.

Isabelle comes to BIST with backgrounds in Psychology and Journalism and with a certificate in WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) Facilitation. Her experience working in the community with individuals suffering from ABI has assisted her creating positive community partnerships and networks to assist individuals living with ABI to meet their goals, live healthier lives and be able to better access specialized services within their communities and obtain support.

When Isabelle is not working she can usually be found listening to music, attending live shows or playing drums. Isabelle can also be found looking for any opportunity to hang out with dogs or pet dogs.